It's only happened a few times, but my spidey-senses are honed to it now: When your clinician for the weekend calls while you're teaching, leaves a voicemail, and then follows it up with a text message saying: "Call me ASAP," it's not a good thing.
Poor Michael, Mr. Tough Guy, was felled by the Plague (or the flu, or a sinus infection, or something) and couldn't make it for the weekend.
Me, on the outside: Cool as a cucumber. "No problem, you poor thing! Feel better soon."
Me, on the inside: FREAK THE HECK OUT.
The freakout probably wasn't necessary. Michael said he could move to this weekend, Dec. 1-2. With a few emails, an update to Facebook and changes to my website and to our ad on the Chronicle Forums, the word got out. Only two people showed up on Sunday, looking very confused. I only had two riders jump ship, and with a long wait list to fill, it was no biggie to get everything settled up again. And all the food that was in the works to provide lunch both days could be frozen or disassembled without fuss.
What got my blood pressure up was the fact that we're having our amazing footing re-fluffed this week, resulting in a total shut-down of our indoor on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, with the possibility of it running into Friday; the weather report for this week was looking scary; and I had a full weekend of lessons scheduled for this weekend which I doubted (correctly) that I could move on short-notice to a holiday weekend, when most people were busy with family obligations.
So I find myself down a week of income and trailering my horses out to others' indoors in order to get them worked so they aren't feral beasts by the time the clinic rolls around.
OK, maybe the freakout was a little bit called for.
But this is how things go, and these are DEFINITELY First-World Problems, so I removed my head from my butt and made a little lemonade.
Allison, Molly and I had a grand time riding all the horses ourselves on Saturday, and I got in a nice long run. And Sunday, Allison, client horse Bo, Midge and I went over to Morningside Training Farm, home to my friend Skyeler Voss' eventing program, as well as a very helpful series of combined tests offering a Test of Choice dressage-only class.
Allison and Bo did a lovely job at third level, earning 65 percent, which, considering she had one ride on Saturday to prepare, was quite the coup! And Midgey and I did our BEST-feeling Grand Prix test yet, made all the more amazing by the fact that I, too, had one day's notice to take Midge from his winter work of trotting and cantering with his head down in the snaffle. Surprise!
I do that to Midge in November and December because, bless him, he's pretty awful to ride when it's cold. He doesn't do anything bad, not by a long stretch, but he just feels cold and stiff and stuck in his back and neck. He eventually warms up out of it, but it takes so long to get there that I just say screw it and let him have his 6-8 weeks of fluffy work.
But he was game, and even though our warm-up took a LONG time and LOTS of pleasepleasepleasejustputyourheaddown, he was really quite excellent. The trot needs to be swingier (I was just happy he was on the bit, really), and we still had a hinky right pirouette and bungled twos (only in the showring, of course - in the warm-up they were gorgeous! Funny boy.), but the piaffe and passage were SO easy and adjustable, as was the canter half-pass zig zag, the ones, the extended trot and canter; I nailed the extended trot-passage transition, he felt awesome and fresh on the last centerline, and was just generally quite thrilled!
The judge - an eventing judge - got out of her car and said "I have NO idea what I just watched, but it looked great to me!" She gave him 67 percent, which I actually thought was bang-spot-on. And that'll nudge up even higher when we can pirouette right (my fault), do the twos (Midge's fault), and maybe take a little breath all the way through Midge's back in the trot (Mother Nature's fault).
It was all smiles from both of us… right up until the moment where I got home and remembered that I'm going to get virtually nothing done this week and then need to host an Olympian and try and look competent. Good feelings gone!